COUNCILLOR WANTS END TO PRAYERS AT COUNCIL MEETINGS

A councillor is trying once again to end prayers being said at the start of full Isle of Wight Council meetings.

Since 2005, when he was elected, Cllr Geoff Brodie has been fighting the practice and has submitted his latest motion in hopes of seeing it finally passed.

Set to be heard at the full council meeting next week (26th May), Cllr Brodie’s motion says:

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“Council, in recognition of the diversity of religious beliefs and no beliefs in the community we represent, resolves to end the practice of offering largely Christian prayers as a formal part of the opening proceedings of full council meetings.

“Instead it is agreed that any such prayers will be offered before the formal opening of full council.”

Currently, prayers are said at the start of every full council meeting by archdeacon, The Ven Peter Leonard.

At the last council meeting, in February, The archdeacon started the prayers by saying he hoped they helped but if people professed a faith other than a Christian one, he hoped his words could be used in ‘an appropriate way for them’ or if someone professed no faith at all, he hoped it would provide a moment of reflection.

Cllr Brodie, an atheist, left a meeting in 2006 after being criticised by then council leader Andy Sutton for not attending the prayers, saying it was disrespectful — something Mr Sutton then apologised for.

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Other local authorities across the country also say prayers at the start of meetings but the Isle of Wight Council says they do not have to be held.

A spokesperson for the council confirmed prayers are not required to be held as part of the meeting, according to the council constitution, and there is no necessity for them to be delivered by a particular faith.

The statement said:

“Ordinarily the incoming chairman nominates who they wish to act in that capacity. Therefore, they could opt for any faith or belief. Indeed, it does not have to be any faith or belief at all.”

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Previous motions from Cllr Brodie to stop the prayers, for fears the prayers might be discriminatory against non-believers, have in some cases received two to five votes.

Speaking about his latest motion Cllr Brodie said:

“I consider it entirely wrong that a secular organisation has formal prayers in one particular religion, let alone any religion. It discriminates in so many ways. I just want it to stop.

“What councillors do before a meeting is entirely up to them.”

The High Court previously ruled in 2012 that the practice was unlawful but powers were given to local authorities by the government for each authority to decide if it is something they would like to do.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
12 Comments
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YJC
YJC
2 months ago

Totally inexcusable that the IW Council forces everyone who attends a meeting to have religion (of any faith) imposed on them. This archaic practice needs to stop. People can choose to pray but that is up to them.

magical mag
magical mag
Reply to  YJC
2 months ago

Tell me where is the harm in saying a prayer before a meeting as it doesn’t hurt anyone !
many people who are atheists still ask God for help at times of crisis..
if you don’t like it then don’t listen

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
Reply to  magical mag
2 months ago

why is religion still poking its nose in to the politics and running of the administrations and country.

I voted for a councillor, not a sneaky church rep to be hanging around – – private rooms can be offered for prayer to interested parties prior to the secular opening of the full council

Alex1
Alex1
Reply to  magical mag
2 months ago

Magical Mag said; “Tell me where is the harm in saying a prayer before a meeting as it doesn’t hurt anyone !”

Religion doesn’t hurt anyone! Show me one war that hasn’t used religions as an excuse. “religion doesn’t hurt anyone” ha ha ha yer sure it doesn’t!

The council should be free from religious beliefs. Religion has its place for the few and should NOT be in our local council.

fred
fred
Reply to  magical mag
2 months ago

“magical mag”: “Tell me where is the harm in saying a prayer before a meeting as it doesn’t hurt anyone”

Tell that to the women in Ireland that have their right for control of their own bodies taken away from them by religion.

Shanita Srynk
Shanita Srynk
Reply to  magical mag
2 months ago

Satanic prayer would be OK as well?

ron
ron
2 months ago

We have all been praying for the removal of the Island conservatives it does seem to work.

Arthur Sausage
Arthur Sausage
2 months ago

May be the prayers are for the floating bridge to run without breakdowns, that didn’t stop that happening nor the stupid money loosing ‘ investments’ they make with our money!

Concerned
Concerned
2 months ago

I would bet my last penny that Councillor Brodie would not have the slightest objection if an Iman recited Islamic prayers instead.

rodney rodney burt
rodney rodney burt
2 months ago

Prayers are based on faith and i don”t have much faith in the council

fred
fred
2 months ago

The church and the government (local and national) should and must remain separate.

Gill Matthews
Gill Matthews
2 months ago

Praying that they choose to pray. Our country and councils need all the help they can get.

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